Supporting you when you need it

Dental professionals are understandably concerned about ensuring they keep themselves and patients safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.

We know that members need to keep up to date with the latest governmental guidance and restrictions, are working to changing standard operating procedures and are concerned about the dento-legal impact.

We would advise members to carefully consider all of the guidance currently available from authoritative sources such as government departments or agencies and make a risk-assessed decision as to how to proceed.

We want to reassure members no matter how you interpret the guidance, if you are criticised for your actions you can contact our dento-legal advice line on 0800 374 626 for advice and support.

Keep up to date

Advice can change frequently so it is important to keep up to date with the latest information. We suggest you check the relevant websites regularly.

You will need to ensure you immediately react to and follow changing guidance. In addition, we suggest:

  • you keep a log of when you checked the COVID-19 advice so you can demonstrate what you have done to stay up to date
  • each practice or department appoints a lead person with responsibility for checking the relevant advice regularly and disseminating it to all concerned
  • make sure you view documents from the website rather than relying on a saved copy, to make sure you are working from the most up-to-date guidance.

See some useful resources from other relevant websites across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Membership questions

Will the DDU provide indemnity if I participate in the NHS national coronavirus vaccination programme?

Your membership gives you access to indemnity for the practice of dentistry as a dental professional but would not extend to claims arising from a role of this nature outside dentistry. We understand that the arrangements being put in place for the vaccination programme include NHS/state indemnity for those involved. It is important that you confirm NHS/state indemnity will apply to your planned role before starting the work. You can still seek our assistance in the usual way in respect of any complaint or regulatory matter arising from involvement in the NHS vaccination programme.

If the amount of work you do changes as a result of participating in the NHS vaccination programme, please contact membership@theddu.com or 0800 085 0614.

The GDC encourages dental professionals to draw on their skills and experience. It also states: 'Registrants should satisfy themselves that they are competent to perform the tasks being asked of them, or are given the training necessary to equip them to do so'. From a general dento-legal perspective, the GDC would expect a registered dental professional to be trained and competent in all the healthcare work they do, notwithstanding that in this case the work is outside the practice of dentistry. You should satisfy yourself that this is the case for the work you are being asked to do, and if you consider you need additional training or have queries or concerns at any stage you should not hesitate to raise the issue with those managing you.

I need proof of indemnity to give to my employer. Where can I download this from?

If your membership has not been paused, and there is no outstanding amount on your record, your proof of membership is available in our app or by logging in to My membership. If you need to update your indemnity details, contact our membership team.

The amount of work I do has reduced because of the pandemic, will my DDU subscription be reduced?

Yes. Simply email us at membership@theddu.com and tell us how many sessions per week you are working and the date this changed.

Subscriptions are based on average weekly sessions across the whole membership year, therefore your new subscription will depend on where you are in your membership year. See how we calculate your average number sessions.

I’m not exactly sure how much indemnity I need as the number of sessions I am working changes. What should I tell you?

We understand that it may be difficult for you to estimate the number of sessions you will be working. You only need to provide us with your best estimate. You can update us with the number of sessions you have actually worked at your renewal.

I will be working as a fit tester/fit tester trainer. Will the DDU provide indemnity for this?

To be supportive of our members during this challenging period, we are adopting a pragmatic approach and can confirm that we consider the role of fit tester within a practice to now be a normal and necessary role.

Members should be appropriately trained to undertake the role and follow relevant regulations and guidance in force.

Practice principal members may delegate this role to suitably trained employed members of the dental team.

While we anticipate potential compensation claims arising from this work would fall to the practice’s employers’ liability or public liability insurers to manage, in the event of concerns being pursued by a patient against members undertaking this role within their practice they may seek our advice and support in the usual way.

Where members have been trained and engaged by the NHS to provide regional fit testing services, we understand they will be provided with test kits and an NHS agreement. The honorary contract will cover any liabilities arising from this arrangement.

See latest advice on fit testing basics and on working outside your normal role.

I’m a hygienist and have returned to work. Am I indemnified if I work without a nurse?

DDU indemnity is not dependent upon members following (or not) any particular course of action. Members should consider all relevant national and local guidance from authoritative sources and make a risk-assessed decision as to whether it is safe to proceed with or without a dental nurse. If you conclude that you are unable to meet the requirements of the current standard operating procedures then we advise you to raise the issue with the practice owner.

For the avoidance of doubt, however you interpret the guidance, if you are criticised for doing so you can seek our advice and support in the usual way.

I have been asked to help the NHS during the pandemic, do I need to tell the DDU?

The indemnity arrangements for work in urgent dental care centres or hubs may vary according to the location both between and within the four UK countries and the local commissioning arrangements. In view of this, and because the needs of members will vary according to individual working circumstances, we advise members to confirm if their indemnity will be provided by the NHS/state prior to contacting our membership team to update work details.

If the work you undertake is NHS/state indemnified, we recommend that you request and retain written proof of indemnity.

I have stopped work completely due to the pandemic, do I need to tell the DDU?

Yes. Simply email us at membership@theddu.com and provide the date of your last working day. Your subscription will be adjusted to reflect this. However, if you are doing any clinical work during the pandemic, including remote advice and consultations or work in an urgent dental care centre or hub, it is important to retain active DDU membership so that you can access our advice and support in relation to this work.